RPC 8.4: MISCONDUCT

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another;

(b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation;

(d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice;

(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;

(f) knowingly (1) assist a judge or judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct or other law, or (2) assist or induce an LLLT in conduct that is a violation of the applicable rules of professional conduct or other law;

(g) commit a discriminatory act prohibited by state law on the basis of sex, race, age, creed, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or marital status, where the act of discrimination is committed in connection with the lawyer's professional activities. In addition, it is professional misconduct to commit a discriminatory act on the basis of sexual orientation if such an act would violate this Rule when committed on the basis of sex, race, age, creed, religion, color, national origin, disability, or marital status. This Rule shall not limit the ability of a lawyer to accept, decline, or withdraw from the representation of a client in accordance with Rule 1.16;

(h) in representing a client, engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice toward judges, lawyers, or LLLTs, other parties, witnesses, jurors, or court personnel or officers, that a reasonable person would interpret as manifesting prejudice or bias on the basis of sex, race, age, creed, religion, color, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or marital status. This Rule does not restrict a lawyer from representing a client by advancing material factual or legal issues or arguments.

(i) commit any act involving moral turpitude, or corruption, or any unjustified act of assault or other act which reflects disregard for the rule of law, whether the same be committed in the course of his or her conduct as a lawyer, or otherwise, and whether the same constitutes a felony or misdemeanor or not; and if the act constitutes a felony or misdemeanor, conviction thereof in a criminal proceeding shall not be a condition precedent to disciplinary action, nor shall acquittal or dismissal thereof preclude the commencement of a disciplinary proceeding;

(j) willfully disobey or violate a court order directing him or her to do or cease doing an act which he or she ought in good faith to do or forbear;

(k) violate his or her oath as an attorney;

(l) violate a duty or sanction imposed by or under the Rules for Enforcement of Lawyer Conduct in connection with a disciplinary matter; including, but not limited to, the duties catalogued at ELC 1.5;

(m) violate the Code of Judicial Conduct; or

(n) engage in conduct demonstrating unfitness to practice law.

[Originally effective September 1, 1985; amended effective September 17, 1993; October 31, 2000; October 1, 2002; September 1, 2006; April 14, 2015.]

Comment

[1] [Washington revision] Lawyers are subject to discipline when they violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so or do so through the acts of another, as when they request or instruct an agent to do so on the lawyer's behalf. Lawyers are also subject to discipline if they assist or induce an LLLT to violate the LLLT RPC. Paragraph (a), however, does not prohibit a lawyer from advising a client concerning action the client is legally entitled to take. [Comment [1] amended effective April 14, 2015.]

[2] [Reserved.]

[3] [Washington revision] Legitimate advocacy respecting the factors set forth in paragraph (h) does not violate paragraphs (d) or (h). A trial judge's finding that peremptory challenges were exercised on a discriminatory basis does not alone establish a violation of this Rule.

[4] A lawyer may refuse to comply with an obligation imposed by law upon a good faith belief that no valid obligation exists. The provisions of Rule 1.2(d) concerning a good faith challenge to the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law apply to challenges of legal regulation of the practice of law.

[5] Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer's abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of lawyers. The same is true of abuse of positions of private trust such as trustee, executor, administrator, guardian, agent and officer, director or manager of a corporation or other organization.

Additional Washington Comment (6-7)

[6] Paragraphs (g) - (n) were taken from former Washington RPC 8.4 (as amended in 2002).

[7] Under paragraph (f)(2), lawyers are also subject to discipline if they assist or induce an LLLT to violate the LLLT RPC. See also Rule 4.3 Washington Comment [6]. [Comment [7] amended effective April 14, 2015.]

[Comments adopted effective September 1, 2006.]